At Auto Curators we will often say, you don’t need to own an Aston Martin to enjoy our services; you simply need a vehicle you love. So we thought we’d produce a series of articles where our car detailing clients tell us a bit more about the cars they cherish.
In this week’s article, we spoke with Ashley James. I think we all fell under the spell of his Alfa 147 GTA when it recently visited us for some TLC. It was the first time Ashley has had car detailing services carried out on a vehicle, even though he’s owned nineteen cars! We asked him to spill the beans on the service, but also tell us a little more about his love of four wheels and his favourite roadie!
Cars that came before
How many, and what cars have you owned since you started driving?
- I have owned 19 cars (I think!) in total; too many to list them all, but some of the highlights are… Peugeot 306 GTI-6, VW Mk2 Golf GTI 16v (Oak Green), Renault Sport Clio 182 Trophy, BMW M135i (running about 420hp!) and my two currents cars… the Alfa 147 GTA and Lotus Elise Club Racer.
Of those, which has been your favourite car, and why?
- Difficult to say as I have fond memories of most of my cars for different reasons. The Mk2 Golf GTI reminded me of my childhood; my dad owned a Tornado Red Mk2 GTI which he bought when I was 12 and sold when I was 18 with 300,000 miles on it! They are arguably the most impressionable years, and it was where my love of cars started. The M135i was just hilarious with 420hp going through the rear wheels. The 306 GTI-6 and Clio Trophy were proper drivers’ cars and could humble most machinery on a twisty back road. If I had to choose one, it would probably be the Lotus Elise because it offers such a pure driving experience which little else can match.
Which cars have you had detailed?
- The Alfa is the only car I have had detailed. For me, cleaning a car is an important part of the overall ownership of it, and I can get just as much enjoyment out of cleaning my cars as I do driving them! This was the first time I decided to enlist the skills of a professional to correct the paint and seal it with a ceramic coating; making my job of cleaning and maintaining the paintwork easy and very satisfying. But, it will not be the last time.
The Alfa 147 GTA
Why did you choose an Alfa Romeo 147GTA?
- Another car I remember my dad buying when I was in my teenage years was an Alfa Romeo 164 Super with a 3.0 V6 engine. He bought it just for the engine and the sound it made alone. Unfortunately, the engine gave way after only a matter of weeks. But, it left such an indelible memory, and I promised myself that I would one day own an Alfa with that legendary Busso V6 engine. The 147 GTA combines the legendary engine (in final 3.2 guise) with looks which to my eyes are absolutely stunning; to this day I still think it is one of the prettiest [modern] cars ever produced. That they are a rare sight on the road and values appear to be climbing are a bonus. And there is a saying that goes “you are not a true petrolhead until you’ve owned an Alfa Romeo”!
What do you love most about your Alfa Romeo?
- The engine, the looks, and how special it makes you feel. I look forward to every drive in the 147, and just hearing that engine sing one more time; there are not many hatchbacks I can say that about.
Do you drive your Alfa for work or pleasure? Is it your everyday car?
- I drive the Alfa for work and pleasure; it is my everyday car. The Lotus is my second/weekend car, though it was my daily car until I purchased the Alfa.
Car Detailing: The choice, the service, the results!
Why did you decide to have your Alfa Romeo detailed?
- I like clean, shiny and swirl-free paintwork! The Alfa is black, which is one of the worst colours for showing swirl marks and scratches. Normally, I machine polish my cars myself, but I am no expert, and I decided to enlist the work of Auto Curators knowing that the Alfa would come back with flawless paintwork with the added benefit of it being fully protected with a ceramic coating.
How and why did you select Auto Curators?
- I had heard of Auto Curators after talking to a few people at a car show/meet I attended. Also, I remember a fair few years ago when Paul made an appearance on Fifth Gear for a feature they were doing on car detailing! Their website is very professional and concise, and one only needs to look at their Portfolio and read through the Testimonials to appreciate the exotica they have been entrusted to work on; far more valuable than my Alfa.
What detailing services did you have carried out on this car, and how long did these take?
- I had a full paint correction carried out, finished with Auto Curators’ signature ceramic coating for long lasting protection. I dropped my car off to Paul early on a [very cold!] Monday morning, and I picked it up on the Wednesday morning, so 2 days.
What’s been the best thing/greatest benefit about having this vehicle detailed at Auto Curators?
- The ease with which I can maintain the paintwork. I like knowing the paintwork has been protected by a ceramic coating, and I no longer mind the car getting filthy, as I always look forward to giving it a wash (with Auto Curators’ very own shampoo!) safe in the knowledge the paintwork will come up as good as it did the day I picked the car up from Paul. But most of all, it was getting to meet Paul himself. Not very often do you meet someone with such passion for what they do, and this really shows in his work. His customer service is second to none, and Paul is more than happy having a good old chinwag about all thing’s cars [before you both realise an hour has passed!], which only a self-confessed petrolhead like myself can truly appreciate.
Roadies that rule
What’s your favourite road trip, and why?
- In all honesty, every drive is special and feels like an occasion in the GTA. The engine dominates. But the roads around Wales/Snowdonia are pretty special; particularly the Evo Triangle. I am hoping to take both the Alfa and the Lotus there some point this year when we have some better weather. I have only owned the Alfa for 2 months and the Lotus for about 5 months. Aside from that, my week-long road trip around Europe at the end of 2017, which resulted in a lap of the Nordschleife was amazing; a petrolhead’s dream!